Want smarter kids? Just be nicer to them. I know, that sounds strange and simplistic, but research shows that early nurturing aids in brain development. Children’s brains develop better if their parents are more nurturing and positive in their interactions. In other words, the parents are just nicer to their kids! The study was concerned with just mothers, but I’m including fathers because their interactions with their kids are so important too.
It’s not easy being nice if you are overly stressed. With the current economy and job insecurity, it’s difficult to eliminate stress. Finding ways to put job frustrations behind you when you get home is an important goal. Learn ways to manage stress–it’s important for your own health as well as your children’s well-being. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night will help you deal with stresses, including parenting stresses. Making that a priority is a huge step towards managing stress. Establishing routines with your kids keeps everyday stress under control. Have a bedtime routine and a morning routine to help things run smoothly.
Look for ways and times to interact positively with your kids. Use your time driving with them in the car as a time for conversations. Make a habit of reading to them at bedtime. Say “I love you” often. Try to not overreact (yell) when they do something you don’t like. If you keep overreacting, it means you need to work on your stress management. Praise all behaviors you want to encourage. Play with them. Give hugs every day. When you child says, “Hold me,” it’s because they haven’t had enough one-on-one time with you. Physical contact is important for them to feel secure and loved. It will help you get rid of stress too.
We all have busy lives, but this is something hugely important to get right. Don’t short-change your kids when this positive interaction can help them feel more able to handle the stresses that will come in their lives. The love you give now will sustain them the rest of their lives. That’s quite a return on investment.
Perhaps you were parented in a negative style. That example is probably what you follow whether you realize it or not. That’s not your fault. But you can break that cycle by making a determined effort to change the pattern. Your efforts could go on in a positive pattern for many generations to come!
Click on the label “manage stress” below this post for more ideas. Click on any of the other labels for more tips and ideas.